In April, several members of Congress met with Kurdish, Christian, and Yazidi leaders at the Kurdish Mission in Washington to discuss the political, military, and humanitarian crisis and what could be done. The question of Kurdish independence lingered unspoken for much of the evening, but was at last broached. A Kurdish representative reiterated the admonition of Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, that the Kurds would give Iraq’s government “one more chance.” The U.S. government, on the other hand, apparently has infinite patience. If the Kurds wait for America to give them its permission to seek independence, they are certain to wait a long time — a point conveyed at the April meeting.
If the Kurdish people vote for independence, America is certain to recognize Kurdistan, though it is likely they will be beaten to it by Israel. Such recognition would allow the United States to arm the Kurds directly — and see ISIS driven out of northern Iraq, liberating villages to which Christians and Yazidis might return. Moreover, the Kurds have given assurances to the Christians of self-administration, self-defense, and survival in Nineveh — an issue increasingly on the radar of the American people. This would also free Iraq (and U.S. policymakers) from the shackles of Sykes-Picot, which in turn could open the door to a federated Iraq, with emerging local governance, greater stability, and a zone of separation between Shia and Sunni sectors. But it appears that here America will not be leading, not even from behind. Rather, the Kurds must take their fate into their own hands. The anger of veterans and their families ought to be directed not at a single administration but at an entire generation of politicians, policymakers, military commanders, and analysts. It might also be directed at French and British diplomats who, a century ago, created a fiction in Mesopotamia. It is not merely the Arabs who were the victims of Sykes-Picot. America has paid a terrible price for that fiction as well.
Read more at: National Review